Building farmworker housing is difficult. When Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) completed the Villa Victoria farmworker housing development on the edge of Oxnard, many thought the heavy lifting had been completed. Yet when CEDC, CAUSE, and ASERT began to work on transportation issues in 2009, Villa Victoria residents did not have a bus stop within a mile of where they lived and no safe path for children to bike and walk along their street where the speed limit is 55 mph.
Working with CAUSE, residents of Villa Victoria quickly learned the power of organizing as they collected petitions and flooded a city council meeting with the following asks: a stoplight, bus service, and a sidewalk along Victoria Avenue. After many meetings and several years, residents won limited weekday bus service and the stoplight became a reality giving residents hope for more bus service because it would allow for a bus stop in front of Villa Victoria.
Finally in February 2013, Gold Coast Transit introduced Route 21. The new route connects South Oxnard and Port Hueneme to Ventura, providing much needed service down Channel Islands Blvd and Victoria Ave while connecting with Ventura College and a major mall. A four-year long struggle, the new route shows the power of bus riders participating in the transportation decision making process and how they can work together to improve the transit system works for those who most depend on it. We are proud of residents who showed their commitment to improving their community by attending agency meetings, hosting community meetings, submitting unmet needs comments, and working with the city council. Now we just need that sidewalk.